Everyone has an experience with one movie at a theater that moves them in unexplainable ways, but because of that emotional response to said film, they can’t bring themselves to watch it again. Ever.
I’m about to break that pattern.
I had that experience with the film ‘The Passion of the Christ.’ I was still in high school at the time. I remember standing in line outside the theater with my mom to get tickets for this film. It had been at our hometown’s movie theater for only a couple of days at that point, and people were still lining up a few hours ahead of time to get their hands on tickets. I stood outside the door chatting with my mom and a few random strangers next to us in line. One of them pointed to the sleeve of my letterman’s jacket and asked what position I played on the tennis team. We talked about tennis for a good ten minutes before transitioning the topic to soccer, the sport which he played with mediocre skill (or so he said.)
While standing there, I also remember feeling my stomach twist into knots. I didn’t know what to expect from this film. Those I had talked to who had already seen the film told me to prepare myself, that I was in for a spiritual awakening like no other. The violence would make me wince. The bluntness of the Christ’s Easter journey would make me weep.
This is what I was told. Being that I was raised Catholic, I didn’t know if I was ready for such a confrontation from the big screen. Yet, there I stood, my stomach wrestling itself with a combination of nerves. Excitement, anxiousness, and probably a healthy dose of fear of what I would feel during and after. The only time I could recall at that time of anything resembling a spiritual awakening was when I attended my confirmation preparation retreat. In the middle of reading the letter our parents had been asked to write for us as we prepared for confirmation, I felt a stirring deep inside myself and then tears just started pouring down my face.
Some told me that was the Holy Spirit making itself known in my life, letting me know it was there and I was ready to take this next step in my faith. Granted, I felt this stirring right away at the beginning, but then I got lost in the moment of crying, and soon the worries of what people would think of the crying girl in the middle of the church took over. Thinking about it now, that was silly of me. If a power larger than myself was trying to speak to me, I should have listened. Ah, retrospect. This is how we learn, right?
Anyways, I made it through the film, but not without a large deal of…yes, you guessed it. Tears. The Easter story had always been boring words on a page before that moment in my life. As stupid as it may sound, seeing the story put in front of me like that concreted what Jesus died for all the more real. In a small way, I could see my sins killing him.
Now, what am I doing talking about Jesus, sins, his crucifixion on the cross, and all this Bible stiff if I have openly proclaimed on this blog I’m a diehard follower of Jedism? Believe what you want to believe individually, but Jedism has strong influences from both Christianity and Buddhism. The idea of the Holy Spirit? Sounds a lot like the ever binding spirit we know as the Force. That’s just one example, but I’m not going to get into this topic right now. Maybe in a different post.
Since seeing ‘The Passion of the Christ’ on the big screen that one time, I have not been able to bring myself to watch this movie since. Every time I thought about it, my stomach would crinkle up on itself. Something awakened in me when I watched it, and I’m afraid of seeing what it could do to me a second time. I bought the soundtrack for the film shortly after seeing it in theaters, and I’m in love with its scoring. But, just like the movie, it brings a certain emotional response to it every time I pop it into my CD player. It’s gotten to a point where I only bring the CD out the week of Easter because it’s time appropriate.
Something changed my mind last night.
Granted, I had a bottle of hard cider settling in my stomach at this point and had another bottle open in my hand, but I was flipping through the movies I could watch on Netflix, and there it was. ‘The Passion of the Christ.’ Staring me right in the face. That’s when some little voice inside my head shouted, “Watch it!” The more I thought about it, I came to recognize I wanted to watch it. There wasn’t a fear of what I could feel while watching Christ be put to death on my own personal TV screen. I was finally open to this idea again. It could have been the cider talking, but I wanted to watch this movie again for the first time since 2004.
Wow, I haven’t been able to being myself to watch this movie in eight years. Yeah, it’s time to face the music.
Is there a movie out there like that for you? Where you haven’t been able to bring yourself to watch it for whatever reason?
All I know is I felt my sins being put on Jesus’ shoulders as I watch this film eight years ago, and when they put the nails to his wrists to nail him to the cross, that’s when the tears fell. It all became real to me. It may sound silly, maybe a little dramatic even, but my faith did take a step in a new direction that day. I can’t say I’ve stayed on that same faith-based journey since, but I have found my beliefs in my own way. Yes, I am a student of the Jedi and the way they see the world, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped believing in God.
I’m going to put myself to the test tonight. I’m going to watch ‘The Passion of the Christ’ for the first time in eight years, and we’ll see what happens to me. Whether I enjoy a cider beforehand is still up in the air, but a little bit of a buzz will let me defenses down a little bit more. I’ll be emotionally available more so, one could say. Hey, they say drunkenness is the way to really hear a person’s honest thoughts. The same though process can be put towards yourself, right?
“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”
Isn’t that a mouth full? Thanks for that, Simone Weil, a powerhouse philosopher. I could go on for another 2,000 words on how I find truth in that statement given certain events that have taken place in my life as of late. Not regrettable events, mind you, but perhaps one’s that shouldn’t have taken place at all. But, that plays into the thought of would I be the same person I am right now, if I hadn’t donet these things? Only the higher beings know the answer to that one.
So, that is the task I’ve put before myself. To watch this movie and be open to whatever it brings. It’ll be an experience, that’s for sure. It’s what I’m hoping for, otherwise these mixed feelings I’ve had for eight years will be even more confusing.
I realize I have not yet posted my Fabulous Fridays for the week. Look for them tomorrow. Consider it an Easter treat from me to you
Continue to have a fantastic weekend, and be open to any and all experiences that come your way. You never know what you can learn about the world, the day, or yourself.